Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates come out on top;Ducks trade looming?

This was a game that Albany should have never been in tonight, but they were as a result of the Portland Pirates having several lapses in the second half of the game. However, the Pirates were lucky enough to survive and beat the River Rats, 6-5 on Friday night.

In Bobby Ryan’s first game back since being reassigned by Anaheim, Dino wasted little time reuniting him with Geoff Platt. Dineen also put Andrew Ebbett and Jason King back together again on a line. Both seemed to payoff dividend as they rekindled that chemistry from the earlier portion of the season. The Pirates did little more then toy with the Rats. They outshot Albany by a two-to-one margin before the midway point of the period and held a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes of play.

That might be were the Pirates got themselves into trouble. This is a very strong lineup right now in Portland and while it may not last, the Pirates have to play to their strengths.

Something they failed to do late in the period.

After building up a 3-0 lead on the River Rats in the second period, they (Portland) just tried to get cute with the puck and it bit them in the rear. In a span of 3:21, the Rats managed to suck the life out of the Pirates, the Civic Center and give Albany a whole new life after scoring three goals to tie the game at 3-3. I could only imagine those two locker rooms during the second intermission. Speaking to Andrew Ebbett after the game, he was quick to point to the collective group as a whole.

“We were playing the score, we’re up 3-0 and you start making cute plays and the ice was bad out there, it’s not the way we play.”

Portland found a new life in the third period as Dixon, Miller and Birner put the Pirates up 6-3 with a little more than 12:04 left to play in the game.

Again, the Pirates got comfortable with the lead, allowing the River Rats to gain momentum.

With Portland on the PP, Brendan Mikkelson was caught in a turnover by Nicholas Blanchard, who skated in on a breakaway and slipped it between the legs of McKenna, pulling the River Rats back to within two goals.

Speaking of McKenna, he’s played very well as of late, but it seems that if one bad goal goes in then it’s a case of him trying to settle down. Last night, he looked a bit rattled after Albany tied the game in the second period and then again after Blanchard scored on the shorthanded attempt. It’s the Pirates sixth shorthanded goal they’ve given up this year.

Albany put the Civic Center on the edge of their seats late in the game when Bryan Rodney scored with 54 seconds left in the game to pull back within a goal. With the Albany on a four-on-three power play, they opted to pull John Grahame for the extra attacker, which was Rodney.

For the most part, the boys weren’t happy about this game and the coaching staff wasn’t happy either. Dino said after the game, that this was a game, in which when they go back to watch the film, they wouldn’t be giving too many high-fives.

On another topic, Ducks GM Brian Burke and Co. were at the game last night and it’s become clear that he’s still working on making other moves to his roster, which in the end will affect the Pirates.

It’s been speculated in the last few days that Burke might have a trade partner in Chicago’s GM Dale Tallon. Burke and Tallon have spoken on many occasions over the last few weeks about making a deal that will send a defenseman to Chicago. The Blackhawks are desperate to shore up their backend after a series of injuries and Anaheim might be a willing partner, if the price is right. One name being tossed around has been Francois Beauchemin. With about 800K remaining on this season and another 1.65 million next season, he becomes a defenseman that Burke can move to further clear cap space for next season, especially if it’s as rumored Martin Lapointe who is coming back the other way. Lapointe has a little more left on his contract (roughly 1.2 million) this season, but he becomes an unrestricted free agent, which saves the Ducks 1.65 million in 2008-09. Every little bit helps when it comes to getting Corey Perry signed.

Adrian Veideman was recalled today from Augusta and the big joke around the press box is whenever Burkie comes to town somebody usually leaves with him so we’re all speculating at who that might be. One name that has been tossed around has been Brian Salcido. He’s played very well for Portland this season, currently ranked second in the league in scoring among defenseman and was just named to Team PlanetUSA in the upcoming AHL All-Star Classic.

It’s certainly something worth watching over the next 24-to-48 hours.

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